VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis’ message for the celebration of the 2018 World Day of Peace was released on 24 Nov 2017 during a press conference at the Holy See Press Office.
The message entitled Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in search of Peace is divided into six sections with the first offering heartfelt good wishes for peace and inviting people of good will to embrace those fleeing war, hunger, and persecution.
The message also poses the question, why so many migrants and refugees? Pope Francis answers this by considering the many conflicts forcing people to leave their homelands, but he notes also the desire for a better life.
The Holy Father notes that some people consider the growth in migration as a threat… But, “for my part,” he says, “I ask you to view it with confidence, as an opportunity to build peace.”
Contained in the 4th section of the message under the theme, “four mileposts for action,” the Pope points out what is needed in order for migrants and refugees to find the peace they seek is a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.
Looking at the situation from an international perspective, Pope Francis expresses the hope that this spirit of welcome and integration, “will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees.”
Finally, the Holy Father draws inspiration from Saint John Paul II with these words. “If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’.”
The Church celebrates the World Day of Peace on January 1 annually.